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Fiji pledges to regain IRB funding
January 12, 2014
Fiji rugby is struggling at the moment © Getty Images
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Fiji's cash-strapped rugby union pledged on Sunday to be back on side with the International Rugby Board in four months after its World Cup plans were hit when all financial aid was cut.

The IRB announced on Saturday it had axed all direct financial support because Fiji rugby bosses had failed to implement recommended measures to address "significant concerns regarding the administration and governance of the union". But the Fiji Rugby Union (FRU) responded by saying it was dealing with the issues and would still go to the IRB for money if it needed to.

"Please note that all these issues were inherited by this current FRU board and the board expects to clear up all these issues by end of May 2014," the FRU said in a statement. The FRU said it had so far used 80% (AUS$329k - £180k) of a grant towards its 2015 World Cup campaign.

"The FRU Board will only ask for the further funding from IRB only if absolutely necessary or not at all, and reserve this funding for our World Cup preparations. To alleviate the financial crisis the FRU board is currently working on fundraising activities, approaching several sponsors and the Fiji government through the Fiji Sports Commission to assist the FRU."

Although £45k remained in the World Cup kitty, Fiji coach Inoke Male told AFP "more funds from the IRB would have to be good for Fiji".

The FRU this week admitted it was struggling to pay the salary of high-profile Sevens coach Ben Ryan, forcing him to work voluntarily for three months. Ryan said "not a penny" of his salary had been paid and he was living off his savings, including covering the cost of flights home to see his family over the festive season.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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